Homework Assignment No. 1: The Infertility Survival Handbook, Knitting and Opening Your Heart

July 23, 2009 | By:

I have to admit that I have been struggling to come up with a homework assignment for everyone, and for myself. I have my real homework to do from my coach, regular client work, drafting my eBook series (yes, I really am working on that!) and my new project (announcement very soon) . . . so finding time to figure out an assignment hasn’t been easy. Fortunately, someone else gave me the inspiration.

I am a knitter. We all know that. Anyone who read the Infertility Survival Handbook Knows that throughout my infertility and adoption journey I was knitting my little man’s lovey blanket. I couldn’t always knit, sometimes it was too painful, but I do believe that knitting that blanket opened my heart bit by bit to the possibility of motherhood. No, to the PROBABILITY of motherhood. I read knitting magazines now for fun, and I have about a half a dozen projects in the works. My very special clients usually get a hand knit baby gift about two years after their baby is born or comes home. It turns out, however, I am not the only knitter who went through infertility. Now what are the odds of that? In the current issue of Knit Simple Magazine, the “last stitch” (an article at the back of the magazine) is written by a former attorney now author of knitting books. In her article, entitled Happy Endings, she discusses how she knitted throughout her infertility and pregnancies. I showed my DH the article and he asked me: “you think she read your book?” It sure sounded like maybe she had, and if she hadn’t, we had definitely travelled similar paths. She too feels that her knitting opened her heart to motherhood and gave her a vision and hope for her future which included children.

Now I am not suggesting we all start a knitting or crochet project. But there are many things we can do, crafty or not, that tell the Universe (the All-That-Is, God, Allah, Buddha) that we are visualizing our family, making a space in our home and our hearts for our family. I don’t care what your favorite thing is, but your first assignment is to pick a project — any kind of project — and start working on it. You could knit a baby blanket, a baby layette, crochet a baby afghan, knit a baby hat, needlpoint a nursery rhyme, paint a picture, create a scrapbook of your infertility journey, paint the nursery walls, write and frame a letter to your baby, start an adoption diary. The only rules are it has to be related to putting infertility behind you and focusing on life on the other side, life with child. Make, create something for that baby or child.

And keep a pad of paper next to you. This is for homework assignment number 2. As you work on your project write down any thoughts that come up, good or bad, related to the baby, the experience, the needles, the paperwork for your adoption. If you feel like it’s all a joke and a waste of time, WRITE THAT DOWN. If you feel suddenly free, and excited, WRITE THAT DOWN. As you work, write little bits and pieces of the thoughts that pass through your consciousness. We’ll talk about them next time.

Happy Creating a New Life everyone!

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  1. Kate says:

    While I do want to visualize I’m scared to make a tangible thing for my dream of motherhood because I’m so afraid of how hurt I will be if it does not happen. How do you overcome that fear as you create something?

    With my first pregnancy (and first miscarriage) I began making a list of 101 things to do with myc hyild by age 5. I planned to scrapbook each page with one thing and a picture of my child doing it. So “go to the zoo” would be on a page with my baby at the zoo. Part of me is tempted to start writing down all the thigns in my list now and making mys crapbook leaving the space for my pictures empty for when the baby comes (and realistically who’ll have time to make such an intensive scrap book when a baby is there?).

    I don’t know, how do you deal with your own fears to jump into visualizing? And how do you deal with a spouse who might think what you’re doing is crazy?

  2. Liz says:

    Fear is a biggie isn’t it? Man, fear has gotten in the way of so many things in my life. Only recently have I learned to start letting go of the fear and while it sure ain’t easy to do, the results have been down right miraculous. I don’t know if this will work for you, but I starte (while eating my way through a package of Oreo cookies), writing down all of the things in my life and about myself that I was afraid of. The my coach told me turn them into statements about myself (this was not a homework assignment but rather something I found in a book by Joe Vitale). So if my fear was that we are going broke like “I am afraid we’re going broke” I changed that into I don’t want to go broke. Then I changed that into I want to be rich. Then I changed that into I am going to be rich. Then into I am creating wealth beyond my wildest dreams. Sounds hokey or what???? But it worked. The next step I did was to let go of the fear of being broke. I was working on becoming wealthy, so everytime my mind chatter tuned into the fear of poverty channel, I changed it back to the becoming wealthy channel.

    Now I did this with my business and with my fertility too. I am not saying it solves all of my problems, or has solved all of my problems, but gradually the fear has been replaced. I have sort of slid into this place where I have surrendered to a process whereby I am becoming wealthy, becoming fertile, becoming a succesful business woman. And the surrendering part has been even more amazing. I no longer obsess over outcomes; I somehow now am allowing them to come when they come. But I have no fear that they will no arrive.

    Fear was such a huge part of my inferility. I can so totally relate to it. Right now my husband and I are faced, due to the economic conditions in our area (notwithstanding a thriving law practice and career as an author) to put our house on the market and move somewhere more affordable. At first I was terrified to move. I am NOT GOOD at CHANGE. But I did the exercise I listed above and now I am downright excited to move.

    I think fear is only a temporary state that we create to protect ourselves from pain. But when we realize that the feelings behind the pain may not be true (feelings are beliefs and our beliefs about ourselves aren’t always true), and we let go of the belief, create a new belief and then surrender to the reality of that new belief, things do change.

    Kate, I haven’t yet given birth to a baby. I wouldn’t change one thing in my life, not writing The Infertility Survival Handbook, The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Adoption, the baby who went back to his birth mother after he came home . . . I wouldn’t change on thing about it because it has made me who I am today. But I was, until recently, still scared to go back into treatment to try and have another baby. While those plans are on hold as I start a new business (announcement is right around the corner!) and possibly move half way across the country, I have let go of my fear of having another miscarriage. I did the process above (about five times) and eventually I surrendered into a place of believing in my inner abundance, fertility and goddess. One day I will give birth to a baby. It won’t be my genetic child because I am getting too old to use my own eggs and our sperm aren’t too healthy either . . . but one day I will hear a heartbeat, and maybe even two.

    Make your scrapbook, who cares if your husband thinks you’re nuts, but maybe also try listing all of your fears and transforming them into empowering statements of who you are and who you will become.

    I think you’re awesome. {{HUGS}}


  3. Carol says:

    Hi! I’m the author of the Knit Simple piece you mentioned. I have not read your book — my children were born several years before it came into print, and I first wrote the essay around that time period too. I’m glad it sparked a chord in you. It’s a shame your book wasn’t around when I first undertook fertility treatment; I expect I would have found great comfort there.